Running is incredibly popular. In the US alone, about 60 million people, or 15% of the population, participate in the sport in some form, whether it’s jogging, sprinting, or trail running.
While many of us are aware of the health benefits that running can bring, from the mental boost to the cardiovascular perks, its impacts on sexual health and wellbeing may be less commonly known.
However, did you know that running, particularly short, high-intensity sprinting exercises, can also help you increase your testosterone levels?
Let’s discuss how running increases your testosterone levels, and what you can do to increase your serum testosterone levels aside from running.
What Is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a male sex hormone that belongs to a group called androgens, primarily produced in the testicles of males.
Testosterone plays a crucial role in the development and maintenance of male reproductive tissues, including the testes, prostate, and seminal vesicles.
It is also responsible for promoting secondary sexual characteristics in males, such as facial hair growth and voice deepening.
When your body produces too little testosterone, you may face symptoms such as bone weakness, a decrease in muscle strength, and even depression.
When we reach 30 and older, the natural production of testosterone in the male body starts to undergo a slow and steady decline. However, there are ways to counteract that—and one notable one is running.
How Running Increases Testosterone Levels
Running can help increase testosterone levels, although the effects may vary depending on several factors.
1. Optimizes Hormone Production
Engaging in regular exercise doesn’t only promote muscle growth. The increase in activity can also signal the body to adapt and optimize hormone production.
Running, particularly when performed at a challenging intensity, has been proven to stimulate the release of testosterone. It does this by activating the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis, a key regulator for testosterone.
This axis identifies the increased energy demand during running. From there, it triggers the release of luteinizing hormone from the pituitary gland, which eventually signals the testes to produce more testosterone.
2. Improves Stress Capacity
Intense running stimulates the production of cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol and testosterone have an inverse relationship─when cortisol levels are high, testosterone levels may decrease, and high levels of cortisol may suppress testosterone production.
However, this decrease is often temporary and can be balanced by the body’s natural mechanisms. After a period of rest and recovery, testosterone levels can rebound, potentially reaching higher levels than before.
3. Promotes Muscular Growth
While running primarily focuses on cardiovascular fitness, it also improves muscular growth, which further enhances testosterone production.
Running and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) programs activate muscle fibers and trigger a physiological response to repair and rebuild muscle tissue.
In response, this leads to a rise in testosterone production, which is essential for both muscle growth and protein synthesis.
Besides running, resistance training through weight lifting can also induce muscle mass growth.
4. Controls Weight Management
Running helps burn calories and reduce body fat, especially when combined with a healthy diet.
Excess body fat tends to disrupt testosterone balance in the body. This is because excessive adipose tissue heightens inflammation and causes hormonal imbalances. In fact, fat cells metabolize into estrogen, which can worsen fitness outcomes even more.
To minimize the interference of excessive fat tissue growth, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy weight to properly regulate your testosterone levels.
5. Improves Overall Health
Running contributes to overall health and well-being, and when you are healthy, your hormone levels tend to be more balanced.
Regular exercise, including running, can improve cardiovascular health, reduce stress, enhance sleep quality, and promote mental well-being. These all play a role in supporting hormone regulation.
4 Ways to Increase Testosterone Levels
Besides running, there are other lifestyle modifications you can consider to boost testosterone. Here are some ways you can increase testosterone production.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Adequate sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy testosterone levels. When you’re in deep sleep, your body regulates and releases various hormones in the body, including testosterone. This is why testosterone levels tend to be highest in the early morning hours.
Conversely, inadequate sleep can cause decreased testosterone levels. Studies have shown that when individuals consistently experience insufficient sleep or poor quality sleep, testosterone levels may decrease over time.
Sufficient sleep reduces stress levels, and chronic stress has been associated with lower testosterone levels. When the body is under stress, cortisol levels increase, which can interfere with testosterone production.
2. Eat a Balanced Diet
To combat low testosterone, ensure that your diet includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods and that your BMI is within healthy levels. Focus on adequate protein intake, as amino acids are necessary for testosterone synthesis.
Include healthy fats from sources like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, as well as a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid excessive consumption of processed foods and sugary drinks.
Zinc is also crucial in the production of testosterone as it’s involved in enzymatic processes related to testosterone synthesis and supports the cells producing testosterone. Maintain adequate zinc levels via the consumption of zinc-rich foods or supplements.
Elevated sugar consumption can also harm normal testosterone levels. When excessive sugar is consumed, it triggers an increase in insulin secretion, which can suppress testosterone production in the testes.
3. Manage Your Stress
Chronic stress is a major cause of hormonal imbalances. It can also negatively impact testosterone production.
Incorporate stress management techniques such as relaxation exercises and mindfulness to regain control over yourself and release stress to remain healthy as you age. Ironically enough, running can be therapeutic for some people and can help a lot in boosting testosterone.
Engaging in hobbies may also reduce stress.
4. Treatments and Medication
Low testosterone can be treated with various medications and lifestyle changes. Here are some common treatments for low testosterone:
- Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT): TRT is a well-known treatment for low testosterone. It involves administering testosterone to the body through injections, gels, patches, or pellets.
- Clomiphene citrate: Typically used to treat infertility in women but can also stimulate testosterone production in men by increasing the release of hormones that stimulate the testes to produce more testosterone.
- Gonadotropin therapy: Used when the pituitary gland is not functioning properly. This involves injections of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), which stimulate the testes to produce testosterone.
Increase Your Testosterone Levels with Orlando, Florida’s Top Male Clinic, Premier Men’s Medical Center
In addition to improving mental and physical health overall, running can also help increase your testosterone levels. This is especially true for short sprints of high intensity. However, it’s not the only way you can increase your testosterone levels on your own.
If you are suffering from low testosterone, or are experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, consult a healthcare professional so that you can receive the appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Are you concerned about your testosterone levels? Worry no longer. Our friendly team of medical professionals at Premier Men’s Medical Center in Orlando can help prepare a plan for you to manage your low testosterone.